I just read a piece by a guy named Hugh Hewitt called “Make the Border Kids Americans”.  “Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated talk radio show, a partner in a national law firm and a professor of law at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University in Orange County, California.”

He had the following suggestion for the unaccompanied minors on the border:

If Congress were to authorize adoption by any couple who were (1) certified by a church of (2) at least 250 members and at least five years of existence as a couple of character and standing within the congregation and (3) were under the age of 60, (4) had at least one member of the couple with a full time job of at least five year’s duration and (5) had raised or were presently raising at least one child who had achieved any normal set of measurements, the crisis over the effectively orphaned children would be over within months. Americans from all over the country would step up to care for these children, to give them new “forever families,” a term the Heritage Foundation’s Sarah Torre introduced to me, which captures the goal we should have for these youngest border crossers.”

Respectfully Mr. Hewitt, I disagree with you completely.

First of all, the United States is a signatory to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention as are El Salvador and Guatemala. In order to gain any adoption benefit for a child from these countries, you must have the central adoption authority of the country in question issue a letter confirming that the child is habitually resident here. This is a hard sell if the child just arrived. Also, as a mother first and a lawyer second, I wouldn’t be comfortable leaving my child for even an afternoon with someone just because they happened to be a member of a certified church, under 60 who successfully raised children…..Jerry Sandusky would meet this requirement if he was a bit younger. Furthermore, making a child’s status in the US dependant on a relationship with certain individuals who have not been properly vetted would be a disaster for many, leaving them trapped in abusive situations under fear of deportation.

The Immigration and Nationality Act already has an avenue of relief for minor children. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status allows a child that does not reside with his or her parents to self petition for a green card. The child has to obtain a court order before age 18 stating that it is not in their best interests to return home. They can be adopted afterwards if they need a family here in the US.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about “forever families.” I just want them vetted properly first and we have some great safeguards in place already to make sure that this happens (which include but are not limited to home investigation by someone who holds a master of social work degree, FBI background checks, sex offender registry checks for everyone who lives in the proposed home, financial review etc.)

We don’t have to come up with something new here. We just have to do what’s right and what’s American and give these kids a chance to apply for the benefits already available to them under the law.